A good headset can make a big difference when playing games. Whether you like to get immersed in the game with the music of sound effects or you need to hear every enemy footstep to know where they are, choosing the right pair of headphones for you can be quite a task. You should look at overall build quality, how comfortable they are, how they sound, and if the microphone sounds good. If you don’t need a microphone, then most wired, critical listening headphones would be a good option.
So far, we've reviewed over 450 headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best gaming headsets to buy. Also, see our recommendations for the best PS4 headsets, the best Xbox One headsets, and the best wireless gaming headsets.
The best gaming headset we've tested so far is the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. These over-ear gaming headphones have a premium, very sturdy-feeling metal design with a flexible microphone that can also retract into the left ear cup. Combined with support for wired connections, they have a bit of versatility for more casual use. Their easy-to-use control scheme and 15-hour plus battery life should keep your gaming sessions interruption-free.
Their most unique feature is their base transmitter, which provides a low-latency wireless connection with your PC or PS4 console as well as support for on-the-fly channel mixing and EQ customization. Out-of-the-box, their overall sound profile is extremely accurate, which should provide high amounts of detail across your listening experience, although that can be tailored to your liking in the SteelSeries Engine app. Their great microphone ensures your voice sounds full-bodied, distortion-free, and clear of any background noise.
On the downside, their restrictive headband means they fit a little tight, especially if you have a large head. They also lack functionality if you’re using them with an Xbox One console: you’ll get audio, but no microphone support. If you like how they fit and game on PC or PS4, though, they’re a great choice.
If you’re looking for an even more customizable alternative, check out the Logitech G933. They lack the high-end build quality of the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, but they're compatible with Logitech’s G HUB software, which allows for a huge degree of personalization. Not only does the app include traditional features like a graphic EQ and volume mixing controls, but it also allows you to remap the three physical buttons on the headset for a variety of commands, including switching audio presets and changing lighting effects. They come with audio and RCA cables, so you can plug them into your phone, console controller, or home theater setup without too much of a hassle.
If you prioritize premium build quality and a rich feature set, get the SteelSeries, but if you’re the type to tweak and optimize every inch of your gaming experience, take a look at the Logitech.
The best wired gaming headset we've tested so far is the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019. Thanks to their wired connection, these headphones keep lag and dwindling battery life from interrupting your gameplay. They come in PS4 or Xbox One variants, and PC users can use either model.
If you like to tweak and personalize your sound experience as you go, the included MixAmp lets you toggle between several different EQ presets. You can also use it to control your channel mixing volume. They have an exceptional boom microphone that helps ensure you're heard clearly by your teammates, even in loud environments like gaming tournaments. Keep in mind that while their open-back design provides a wide and natural soundstage, it also makes it difficult to hear your audio while gaming in noisy environments.
Out-of-the-box, these headphones have a weak and uneven treble that some may not like. Luckily, the Astro Command Center companion software offers a full graphic EQ that can help you find the right sound for your needs.
If you're looking for more affordable wired gaming headphones that are also versatile enough to use casually with your phone, get the Logitech G433 Gaming Headset. They don't have the same wide soundstage as the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019, and they feel a lot more cheaply made, but they're a lot less expensive. Their boom microphone performs outstandingly well, and they're quite comfortable for long gaming sessions. They also come with a surprising number of accessories given the price point, like a dedicated mobile audio cable with an in-line remote and microphone, as well as extra ear cup padding. Their sound profile can vary a lot between different users, but they generally sound quite neutral, and you can also tweak the way they sound with Logitech's G HUB software.
Get the Astro if you prefer a more premium design with a dedicated amp for more control options. However, if you prefer a more casual design that's still good for gaming, get the Logitech.
The best gaming headset for Xbox One that we've tested so far is the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019. Despite their bulky, heavy design, their spacious ear cups and plushly-padded headband help distribute their weight evenly, so you’ll be able to wear them throughout your longest gaming sessions without any problem. They offer a pretty comprehensive gaming-oriented control scheme that includes physical buttons for cycling EQ presets, channel mixing, and Dolby Surround Sound, as well as a flip-to-mute boom microphone.
Their sound profile is very accurate across the audible spectrum, ensuring you’ll hear everything from the whistling cracks of gunshots to the strings of a game’s cinematic score with equal amounts of detail. Their 15-hour battery life provides plenty of play time and shouldn’t catch you flat-footed at a crucial moment. Their microphone is also great, as your voice will sound clear, full-bodied, and absent of any background chatter, even in loud, hectic environments.
While your teammates will have no trouble hearing your voice, you might not be so lucky, since these headphones do a bad job at blocking out ambient noise. They also leak quite a bit of audio, so they’re best suited for use at a dedicated home-gaming setup. You’ll also need a dock station to actually use these headphones, so they’re not the most practical of options in their class. Still, with their premium build quality, a plethora of customization options, and all-day comfort, these are a great pair of gaming headphones to use with your Xbox One.
The Corsair HS60 is the best budget gaming headset we've tested so far. These comfortable wired headphones can be worn for long gaming sessions and have a great price-to-performance ratio that's sure to please gamers and their wallets alike.
They have a fairly balanced and neutral sound profile that can be tweaked using their iCUE companion software's EQ. Their microphone is decent, and your teammates shouldn't have any trouble understanding you, but your voice may lack a similarly full-bodied and clear sound than other headphones on this list. They're quite versatile thanks to their 1/8" TRRS connection, which makes them fully compatible with PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
On the downside, their design can be prone to inconsistent bass delivery, and users with glasses or thick hair may experience a significant drop in bass if they don't have a proper seal on their ears. They also don't really reduce background noise around you and perform best in quiet gaming spaces such as your home. Still, if you're trying to minimize your expenses, these headphones are a good choice.
If you often struggle to be heard by your teammates or you're focused on microphone performance for online multiplayer games, then get the HyperX Cloud Stinger. While these gaming headphones have a plasticky feel to them compared to the Corsair HS60, their boom microphone has a better recording quality. Voices are clear and full, even in loud environments like gaming tournaments, so you don't need to worry about your voice getting lost in background noise. On the downside, they don't have a companion app or software to help personalize your sound experience, but their 1/8" connector makes it easy to use them on other consoles or PC.
Get the Corsair if you like to customize your sound and prefer a more premium-feeling gaming headset. However, if you're invested in multiplayer games or voice chat and need a microphone to capture your voice clearly, get the HyperX.
07/13/2020: Updated text for clarity and accuracy, no change in recommendations.
02/21/2020: Replaced SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless with Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019. Updated price discrepancy for Corsair HS60.
01/21/2020: Removed 'Best Home Theater Alternative', 'Best Earbuds for Gaming'. The Arctis Pro GameDAC is now mentioned with the Arctis Pro Wireless text instead of being a selection on its own.
10/25/2019: Replaced Astro A50 with Astro A50 Gen 4 2019.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headphones and the best gaming earbuds to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones that are good for gaming. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you do not care about having a microphone or wireless features.